He will go down in history as one of the greatest to ever play football - and for good reason
If you showed someone Lionel Messi’s career stats in comparison to almost any other player, they’d consider them impossible.
The only thing that makes the Argentine’s numbers even vaguely believable is the fact we’ve seen him play – without that, we’d just assume he’d been teleported down from the planet Goalazzo.
He has scored 550 career goals for Barcelona and 61 for Argentina, finding the net more than 40 times in each of the last nine seasons. For most players, hitting that target even once would be the biggest achievement of their entire career.
In theory, as he approaches his 31st birthday, he should be on the wane. However, we’d be very wrong to write him off. Especially when we see the sort of numbers he’s producing even now.
Put simply, we’d think Messi had been edited on a video game if we hadn’t watched him in the flesh.
Case in point: his heatmap from Barcelona’s 2017/18 season, a measure of his all-round contribution over the last eight months or so.
Using info from SofaScore, the ‘infosmessi’ Twitter account has shown Messi to be comparable to attacking playmakers such as Isco, David Silva and Mesut Özil.
So far, so good, but then you add in the fact that he has scored 32 league goals in 33 games this season, including a hat-trick against Deportivo La Coruña in Barcelona’s last game – Isco, Silva and Özil have 19 between them.
Messi’s hat-trick at Depor ensured Barcelona won the league title with four games to spare, and they still have the chance to end their league season unbeaten and to hit the 100-goal mark for a seventh straight season.
However, even Messi’s input couldn’t stop them from suffering Champions League elimination at the hands of Roma.
Maybe he is human after all.